Music is often looked upon as a serious, and studious art form that inspires feelings of joy, melancholy, comfort, or even jarring uneasiness.
But what about humour?
Music can make us laugh as well. Everything from out and out goofiness to tongue in cheek sentiments, irony or self deprecating lyrics can be found in just about every genre of music. Sometimes the cues for laughter are more obvious than others, and in this feature, we will examine a few pieces of music that are meant to oscillate with the funny bone.
1. Eat It-Weird Al Yankovic
This 1984 release was a parody of the song, Beat It by Michael Jackson and earned Yankovic, a pop culture genius in his own right, a grammy award for Best Comedy Recording.
Even MJ himself thought the tune was amusing. Prior to the recording of the track, Al approached the King of Pop and received his blessing.
A shot for shot parody of the video was released to accompany the track and features some golden opportunities to chuckle, such as two gang members fighting with forks and spoons, later battling over a rubber chicken.
2. Valley Girl-Frank Zappa
Zappa has long since been linking humour and music together, and 1982’s Valley Girl was par for the course.
This particular song was a satire of the Valley Girl, a comical portrait of a spoiled rich girl from the suburbs of Los Angeles and featured Moon Unit Zappa, FZ’s own daughter on vocals.
The track was Zappa’s only top 40 US song and features a cross section of the typical valley vernacular. Describing clothes as bitchin’, expressing distaste by exclaiming, “Barf Out!” or “Grody!” and peppering the track with a helping of OMGs when they were still “Oh my God!”s, helps us examine the creature that is the Valley Girl from a distance.
3. Satan Gave Me a Taco-Beck
From Beck’s 1994 album of quirky four track recordings, Satan Gave Me a Taco is a satire of the rock n’ roll lifestyle , told through the eyes of a unknowing subject who accidentally eats a taco that makes him lose his mind.
Eventually, after being thrown in jail for freaking out an old lady, the song’s main character finds himself in a courtroom rock video and suffers through all of the perils of the rock star existence.
Other than being just purely funny, the song remains a statement about the paradigm shift that occurred in the late 80’s, to early 90’s, where “some guy with a microphone, running around dancing in tights”, was beginning to fall out of fashion.